Ahead of Wednesday’s resumption of domestic flights at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Monday, said the last row of seats in the aircraft would be reserved for isolation of persons suspected to have the coronavirus infection.
Sirika, during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, also said passengers without face masks would be considered unruly and ejected from the flights.
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He said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the banning of aides of ministers, military, National Assembly members, governors, judiciary and others at the airport with exemptions of people with disabilities who would be assisted at the airport by the ground staff of the airline as well as those with diplomatic immunity.
He said there would be mandatory temperature and symptoms checks at the airports.
“Face masks must be worn at all times inside the airport and airplane.
“Frequent cleaning of hands and physical distancing will be maintained at all times,” he said.
According to him, “the cabin air is safer than most other environments, and that the processes of compression, heating, cooling, and filtration that aircraft cabin air is subjected to take out 99.99 percent of all organisms including viruses.
“The inside of an airplane cabin is one of the most hygienic environments in the world, because of the high efficiency of the filtration and purification processes and systems for the circulating air.”
Sirika also stated that Nigeria was not rushing into reopening of airports as five countries in Africa and over 100 countries across the world had already started domestic air services.
“The flight simulation is to achieve some basic things; firstly it is to maintain physical distance with each other, secondly, it is to wear protective materials such as face mask and face shield, thirdly, it is to maintain hygiene; fourthly, it is to clean the area and surfaces and that is a function of the robot itself apart from identifying the passengers.
“All of the things that have happened here (flight dry run) are to ensure we don’t spread COVID-19,” he said.